AUTRE NE VEUT Bunk Bar, 3/9
Jody Rogac

WEDNESDAY 3/6

PARENTHETICAL GIRLS, PWRHAUS, STAY CALM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

CASPIAN, NATIVE, THIS PATCH OF SKY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For those days when you need to be left the fuck alone, nothing does it quite like a wordless (or nearly wordless) post-rock composition. Albums by Mogwai, Earth, and Emeralds are ecstatically beautiful, but they don't foist feelings on you. And neither does Caspian. Music like this is seriously beautiful—and also straight-up serious. Caspian have been around since 2003, and their third album, Waking Season, came out in September. Lavish piles of sound—from heavy guitars to angelic synths—layer over each other, and just when you think there can't possibly be one more layer, they heap on 10 more. It's a perfectly realized meditation of the splendid and weighty, like watching a volcano erupt. At over 10 minutes long, "Gone in Bloom and Bough" is a genre-bender, but it doesn't meander so much as lead you on a journey through light and dark, loud and soft. REBECCA WILSON

WOOLEN MEN, PONY TIME, STICKERS
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) Seattle garage-punk duo Pony Time have just as much in common with the erstwhile tones of groups like the Urinals as they do with the contemporary garage revival. On the band's latest LP, Go Find Your Own, the band doesn't shy away from exposing its allegiances to pop culture fun, and includes odes to LGBTQ rights ("Lesbian Mayor"), Kathleen Hanna, and a memorable romp with possibly the best track name of the last 15 years, "First Thing in the Morning, You and Me (Hard and Heavy)." All of this playfulness, though, belies a strong power-pop presence underneath that fuzzy, fun noise. While you're at it, go ahead and support the crud out of Record Room by stocking up on vinyl, cassettes, and laserdiscs! RYAN J. PRADO

WL, SOFT SHADOWS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) WL are easily the best active shoegaze band in Portland (assuming Anne has officially kicked the bucket) and their debut 7-inch Impermanent, released last summer, occasionally approaches the level of brilliance exhibited by the genre's early '90s forebears such as Slowdive, Ride, and the Telescopes. Even on this meager two-song release, WL pretty much have every dream-pop trope on lock: the otherworldly female vocals, the wobbly, pressure-drop chord progressions, the chafing production and excellent songwriting—and it's all infused with an inhumanly hip aesthetic (for the kids). WL might just become that next band the entire city can agree on, as soon as we all figure out how to pronounce their name correctly. (Our vote's for "well.") MORGAN TROPER

NATHANIEL TALBOT QUARTET, SWANSEA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Despite the austere name, the Nathaniel Talbot Quartet doesn't make lounge-y jazz or string-driven classical music. Rather, the band—fronted by a former Portlander-turned-organic farmer now located on Washington's Whidbey Island—makes chamber folk with decided pop overtones. Talbot's Portland-based band is subtle and restrained, and the songs lope along amiably, but Talbot's nimble fingerpicking and plummy voice evoke the smooth, overripe quality of James Taylor, which is more than enough to set this listener on edge. Tonight the quartet celebrates the release of Here in the Fields, an album that's mellow to the point of being wispy. Opening band Swansea includes members of Blue Cranes; their inventive 2012 album Old Blood showcases delightfully chopped-up rock alongside enjoyably fluid atmospherics. NED LANNAMANN

THURSDAY 3/7

GOLDEN RETRIEVER, SWAHILI, HOLY BALM, CLOAKS, DJ CHARLES BERLITZ
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Golden Retriever, that duo of bass clarinet and modular synth, are generous with singles and EPs, but their second full-length, Occupied with the Unspoken, really shows what they can do when they commit to an album. Constantly expanding and contracting strata of blips and drones make the album feel like you're listening to the world's most beautiful science experiment. They are the standouts in the lineup, which says a lot, since they follow Swahili, an ambitious psychedelic band that mashes together every sound they enjoy—tribal, drumming, synths, drones, shoegaze vocals—to exhilarating, gorgeous effect. It's either complete luck or they are the most talented producers in the world. Holy Balm is a dance band from Australia, who seem to have a monomania for an aggressive sort of synth-fueled fun. Their name implies something soothing and nurturing, which I guess could be accurate if the dance club is your idea of church. RW

FRIDAY 3/8

MORRISSEY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Morrissey.

SHABAZZ PALACES, OC NOTES
(Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock) See My, What a Busy Week!

EMANCIPATOR
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) You might not have noticed, but Emancipator is playing one of the biggest local-band shows this week, headlining the Wonder Ballroom on the heels of the release of new album Dusk to Dawn. Knob-twiddler Doug Appling is indeed a Portland resident, and as Emancipator, he makes picturesque electronic music that's more trip-hop and folktronica than anything else. (Remember those things?) Actually, Dusk to Dawn is a graceful and pretty record, highlighted by gypsy violin from Ilya Goldberg, who'll be joining the live show as well. While the clicking beats and tastefully arranged synth programs are more hotel lobby than rock club, Emancipator is perfectly enjoyable breakfast-making or wallpaper-hanging music. Still, I can't help but wish the similar-sounding but far edgier Talkdemonic were headlining the Wonder instead. NL

BLACK 'N BLUE, SONIC TEMPLE, LABANSKY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Seeing the names Black 'N Blue and LaBansky on the Hawthorne Theatre marquee might make you forget what year it is. (The $25 ticket price should help to remind you.) One-time Portland glammers Black 'N Blue have called LA home for decades now, but the biggest difference is the absence of original guitarist Tommy Thayer, who now dons the makeup of one Ace Frehley in a pseudo-cover band that charges upward of $150 a ticket. The chances of Thayer joining B'NB for this little homecoming are next to nil, although I did notice KISS has a couple of off-days in Australia at the time of this show. Maybe Ace will step in for Tommy in Black 'N Blue. That would surely make KISS fans' heads implode. MARK LORE

LORD DYING, ATRIARCH, NETHER REGIONS, GAYTHEIST
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Four terrific local metal bands are playing Branx tonight, and getting into the thick of that dark, smelly room won't cost you one thin dime. It's a completely free show, headlined by Lord Dying, who are riding high off their newly signed contract with Relapse Records. It's also the tour kickoff show for Gaytheist, who are a pure, giddy pleasure machine masquerading in the form of a loud-as-fuck metal band featuring a nattily dressed gay frontman. And yes, this show is as free as the great outdoors. There is no excuse to miss it. NL

ASSEMBLY OF DUST, SUGARCANE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The next time an acquaintance of a certain age begins whining about how "they" don't make music like they used to, shut them up by plugging Assembly of Dust into their ears. Assembly of Dust have been sounding like the sunny '70s for a full decade now, and have always been very open about the fact that they wish they were the Band. Sun Shot, their newest studio album, is an impeccably produced, country-tinged nostalgia piece. Effortlessly enjoyable, it'll make you dust off your copies of American Beauty and Music from Big Pink—which are better albums, sure, but Sun Shot holds its own. Frontman (and former Strangefolk guitarist) Reid Genauer formed the band while pursuing an MBA at Cornell, which has to be the least rock 'n' roll origin story in the history of alt-country, but whatever. The hooks will immediately banish any Ivy League-related skepticism and plunge you straight into a lazy summer afternoon. RW

SATURDAY 3/9

FRIGHTENED RABBIT, THE TWILIGHT SAD
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our article on Frightened Rabbit.

AUTRE NE VEUT, MAJICAL CLOUDZ
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) "Play by Play," the opening track from Autre Ne Veut's second album, Anxiety, is one of those immediate, huge, perfect pop singles that consumes your entire listening habits for a good week, perhaps even longer. Gradually finding a beat and a melody out of its opening synth blurbs and meandering glissandos, Autre Ne Veut mastermind Arthur Ashin slowly turns the screws, ramping up to the desperate emotion that fuels all great pop songs. Midway through, "Play by Play" explodes into a tightly coiled, future-synth gospel anthem. It's undeniably great, the type of effortless R&B/dance masterpiece Justin Timberlake would give his suit and tie to coo over. While the rest of Anxiety is pretty good, sometimes its digital timbres take on a harsh, fluorescent-light quality. But there's no denying "Play by Play"—expect it to be the peak of tonight's show. NL

LEAVES RUSSELL, NO KIND OF RIDER, JOSH AND MER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Guitar addicts will need to look elsewhere: Leaves Russell doesn't carry a typical six-string in its arsenal. Rather, the Portland four-piece is fueled by lead singer Matthew Russell's piano and Thacher Schmid's mini string section, which includes violin, mandolin, and viola. (Bassist Isaac Medina and drummer Jackson Conrad round out the ensemble). Leaves Russell's first full-length, We Chose the Devil Red, is a moody, almost proggy collection of reflective songs, and what it lacks in buoyancy it makes up for with an almost bloodlust-y sense of the macabre. The darker tunes are usually the best on We Chose the Devil Red, but whichever ones they play at tonight's record release show, they're bound to connect with you in unexpected places. NL

SUNDAY 3/10

JAMES HUNTER SIX, THE RELATIVES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Read our article on the Relatives.

BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) About seven years ago, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jimmy Carter, the de facto lead vocalist of the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama, before a concert the gospel collective performed in Northern California. In his late 80s at the time, Carter's overarching vitality spoke volumes of the persistence of the Blind Boys, and made plain the reasons for the ensemble's many accolades, performances, Grammy Awards, and legions of fans. That the group is still on the road performing—after several incarnations spanning, get this, nine decades—sets the bar sky high for up-and-comers. The group is breathtaking in a live setting to boot, and within the intimacy of Mississippi Studios, this should be a special evening. File under: must see. RJP Also see My, What a Busy Week!

BENOÎT PIOULARD, CARS AND TRAINS, MOJAVE BIRD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Benoît Pioulard is the mysterious pseudonym of Thomas Meluch, a former Portlander living in England. His new album, Hymnal, out this week, is a work of fascinating sincerity. Meluch's voice is nice—comforting and affecting without ever overdoing it—but it really serves to anchor the strange sound collages underlying it. Meluch is exceptionally good at taking found sounds and transforming them into something immediately accessible. Thematically, Hymnal is inspired by Meluch's Catholic upbringing and the preponderance of ancient cathedrals in England. Cars and Trains' Tom Filepp shares an aesthetic sensibility and a sense of musical maturity with Meluch, both being drawn to found sounds and analog recording. But where Meluch leans toward the ambient, Filepp focuses on deep layers of instruments, like woodwinds, strings, and horns. RW

MONDAY 3/11

RICK BASS AND STELLARONDO, WILLY VLAUTIN
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Missoula band Stellarondo teamed with writer Rick Bass to record Rick Bass and Stellarondo, the album they laid to tape live at Portland's Type Foundry studio last April. Bass reads three short stories and one essay as the band performs sketch-like musical backing beneath him, and if the democracy is slightly tilted—Bass's narratives typically win out over the abstraction of the music—the result won't be unfamiliar, or unpleasing, to listeners of contemporary audio programs like The Moth or Radiolab. Fittingly, Richmond Fontaine's Willy Vlautin opens the show; perhaps as renowned for his novels as his music, Vlautin will play songs to open the show, but you can expect he'll tell some remarkable stories along the way. NL

TUESDAY 3/12

LIKE A VILLAIN, WL
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) There isn't anything quite like Like a Villain—I don't mean just in Portland, I mean anywhere. The alter ego of Holland Andrews, Like a Villain is fragile, sparse music that's then set alight by Holland's tremendous voice, often looped and layered into thick, extravagant canvases. Embracing the often-minimalist sensibilities of 20th and 21st-century avant-garde composers, Andrews uses clarinet and glockenspiel to provide backing for her vocal aerobatics, but the end result is something entirely new and strange and wonderful. Hearing her unlikely symphonies directly after absorbing the full-volume shoegaze of WL should provide quite a contrast; it's one of the most appealing and fascinating double bills in quite a while. NL Also see Wednesday's listing.